Green Development

Haikou takes bee-eaters under a protective wing

Updated: Aug 10, 2022 Print
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Tourists walk on a stone bridge at the Wuyuan River National Wetland Park in Haikou, Hainan province, in February. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Chen Lei traveled all the way from Northwest China to the southern province of Hainan just to catch a glimpse of blue-tailed bee-eaters and blue-throated bee-eaters nesting in a wetland park.

"I traveled more than 2,000 kilometers from the Ningxia Hui autonomous region to this tropical island province to observe the beautiful birds here in Haikou," the 44-year-old said in reference to Hainan's provincial capital.

"Environmental protection is important, and I see people from different walks of life are playing their part in this regard."

Bee-eaters are a richly-colored family of birds. As their name suggests, they are known to hunt bees, in addition to wasps and dragonflies. In Haikou, they are often found along the west coast, and blue-tailed bee-eaters are under State protection.

Every year, from April to June, the birds nest and reproduce at the Wuyuan River National Wetland Park in Haikou, proving a huge draw for many bird watchers.

On May 26, a group of nature enthusiasts came to the park to observe the bee-eaters they had dubbed "the most beautiful birds in China" and to "feel the beauty of biodiversity in Hainan", they said.

In Haikou, the birds were first spotted in 2018, about 300 meters from a government building, said Lu Gang, head of the Duotan Wetland Research Institute.

"On that occasion, we saw more than 20 birds nesting near the park," he added.

Over the past few years, the number of bee-eaters has risen from 28 to 80 by early May, according to the latest monitoring figures.

The Haikou authorities started building the wetland park in 2017, and it was later given national park status.

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